How does a Japanese women’s volleyball team from the late 1950s become an international sensation, feminist role models, the subject of a wildly popular comic book and a still-influential anime? This stranger-than-fiction story is dynamically told by Julien Faraut (JOHN McENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION), with an ironic twist on the original demeaning moniker, Oriental Witches. A group of Osaka textile workers are transformed into a fiercely competitive volleyball team by their astonishingly ruthless coach whose unconventional techniques emphasize speed and aggression. A record-setting winning streak and a dramatic 1964 Tokyo Olympics triumph follow. Wonderful archival footage of the women in training and on the court, animated versions of their championship games, and moving interviews with the women today are set to a pulsating electronic score.

THE WITCHES OF THE ORIENT (2021, 100 minutes) Directed by Julien Faraut. Produced by William Jéhannin. Cinematography: Yutaka Yamazaki. Sound: Léon Rousseau. Editing: Andreï Bogdanov. Special thanks to Catherine Cadou. France. In Japanese with English Subtitles. A KimStim release.